The online PC gaming platform, GOG, recently announced that they would be including a game ripe with controversy, Devotion, in their catalog. Then, only hours later, they tweeted that they had actually rescinded the game from release due to “gamer complaints,” although when examining the full story, this excuse seems highly unlikely.
Devotion is a horror game at its finest. With beautiful graphics to accompany intense storytelling and anticipation, gamers go through the game like a protagonist in a horror film, never knowing which way to turn. The rock-based soundtrack only amplifies the aesthetic of the game, so it’s no surprise that gamers all over the world are itching for a chance to play.
The game, ‘Devotion,’ is no stranger to controversy.
In February of last year, Devotion was released on the Stream gaming platform, but was then pulled due to a hidden piece of art in the game. Basically, there was some wall art that, in an “ancient style of writing,” said something along the lines of “Xi Jinping” and “Winnie the Pooh.” Xi Jinping, the leader of China, is so offended by comparisons to Winnie the Pooh that the harmless Pooh bear is actually banned in China.
The Chinese government has gone so far as to block out parts of John Oliver comparing Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh, and they even banned the release of the Christopher Robin movie. So when the Easter egg was discovered in the Taiwanese game, China was not having it and insisted the game be rescinded.
Red Candle Games, the maker of Devotion, insisted this was a mistake, but that didn’t stop Devotion from being pretty much wiped from existence. The team shared in a Facebook post, “When making the prototype, the team often referred to the then known internet slang as placeholder … However, due to the version synchronizing problem, not all of the placeholders were deleted properly.”
The December 2020 controversy over the ‘Devotion’ game is similar.
Basically, GOG announced that they would be selling Devotion on their platform, and then tweeted a few hours later, “Earlier today, it was announced that the game Devotion is coming to GOG. After receiving many messages from gamers, we have decided not to list the game in our store.” This seems a bit shady, though, since gamers are the ones who want to play.
Because of the game’s history, it seems much more likely that the Chinese government stepped in once again to deny the game to the gamers who very clearly do want to play. It’s possible the GOG platform is concerned that if they release Devotion that the entire GOG platform would be pulled from China, eliminating a major source of revenue. The only way to play Devotion currently is to go to Taiwan and buy a physical copy of the game, since it was sold in stores, but only in Taiwan.
Other indie games are sticking by ‘Devotion’ during the controversy.
One game developer, Megan Fox (not the actress), tweeted, “Earlier today, it was assumed that the game SkateBIRD was coming to @GOGcom. After receiving one message from them that undercut a fellow indie dev, we have decided not to list our game in their store.” It’s unclear as to if other gaming companies will do this, but the move to back Devotion is, in essence, a show for democracy and free commerce in the gaming world.
To support Red Candle Games, or to get your horror gaming fix, you can play their other game, Detention, on Steam, PS4, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Google Play.